Blog Category: CPQ

The Secret to Customer Centricity When Selling Manufacturing Products: Buyer Enablement

manufacturing buyer enablement

Manufacturing Buyer Enablement begins with a reshaping of behaviors

I think we can all agree that buying behaviors and expectations have evolved over the years thanks to the highly personalized experience B2C shoppers get when making purchases. As a rule, customers want the highly personalized B2C-like buying experience they have grown accustomed to in their everyday life… but now they want it when in their B2B experience as well. 

Whenever I speak with a customer or prospects– digital transformation is always at the forefront of the conversation.  We talk about the digitalization of internal processes, how to become more operationally efficient, how to speed up sales, improve or protect margins, etc. Some of our largest customers would talk about digital commerce, but consider it “phase two” or say, “we’re not there yet.” However, they always know they will need to get there. 

The current economic state has changed one thing about these conversations: Virtually all customers and prospects now talk about digital commerce. They inquire about ways to increase their web presence, leveraging digital investments, extending sales tools to other channels, and how to simplify their selling processes. They need to make it easier for their customers to buy their products for both standard and highly customized. 

Anyone reading this from the industry knows that traditionally the buying experience for these types of products is high-touch, very complicated, and often times disjointed. Partner that with recent economic uncertainty, social distancing practices, and unease about travel– there’s a new sense of urgency to digitalize quickly!  

Disrupting the traditional manufacturing buyer enablement maybe the next step for many 

In an increasingly competitive market paired with all the uncertainty, it’s created a demand to re-imagine a B2B buying experience that completely transforms the way customers are buying the complex products you manufacture.  

The leaders in your industries, and many of our customers, are already using or planning to use disruptive technologies to meet the demands of customers that are conducting business across channels, with a focus on buyer enablement online.

While there was a movement of your buyers to online channels prior to the pandemic, I started seeing a huge acceleration earlier this year as travel halted and more of our daily business was conducted digitally. All our customer concerns and curiosities about how to meet the moment were validated when Accenture released an updated report on the industry. 

According to new research from Accenture, the new normal has 74% of industrial buyers researching at least half their purchases online. This stat is clear proof that your customers are rapidly moving from offline to online interactions. By 2025, the same study reports 20% of all industrial manufacturing purchases will take place online. 

Learn how to challenge the manufacturing status quo in our upcoming Smart Commerce Summit: Customer Centricity in the Age of Disruption

Additionally, as millennials come into purchasing power, they are already accustomed to a B2C-like experience when they buy. I simply cannot imagine a scenario, pandemic accelerated or not, where younger generations purchasing primarily in any other way than primarily through online self-service channels. 

Whether you call it digital commerce, eCommerce, omnichannel leaders in your industries are already exploring and implementing a customer empowered digital commerce experience. If you are expecting to be a leader in your industry, you MUST invest in a buyer enabled digital commerce experience that meetthe needs of customers today and ensures continuous future growth. 

To learn more about what this can look like for leading manufacturers, reach out to us today and schedule your demo

 

Top 10 Reasons Why CPQ Projects Fail

Why do Cpq implementations fail?

So, Why do CPQ projects fail?

This week we’re excited to have Patrik Skjelfoss Principal Business Consultant at CPQ.se

Before co-founding cpq.se Patrik worked with Tacton CPQ for 13 years focusing on Heavy Vehicles and Manufacturing Equipment.

A little about CPQ.se

CPQ provides a true competitive advantage for manufacturers. A smooth implementation of CPQ requires the right combination of experience and expertise. cpq.se has successfully carried out CPQ-implementation projects since 2001. This has led them to become experts in the field of CPQ. Today, many large organizations seek their consulting services for updating and expanding CPQ to new divisions and business areas. Their pragmatic approach to CPQ implementation invites their customers to identify their priorities in order to quickly deliver tangible results.

CPQ.se is headquartered in Uppsala (near Stockholm), and provide their services to the entire northern European region.

New products, new opportunities but also new challenges 

CPQ purchases can be an exciting time for manufacturers. Akin to turning over a new leaf from the old way products were sold to a new faster, more efficient way to work. Not only will your team be able to ensure accuracy but also enable your customers to get their products fast as their accustomed to. So, why do CPQ projects fail?

CPQ projects fail without backing from senior management

The CPQ process is spread all over the enterprise and touches many groups including sales, IT, engineering, marketing, and order management. The planning and development of a CPQ solution must involve all of these organizations and must address the requirements of each group. CPQ is a knowledge-based tool, and it’s never better than the actual knowledge and data in the tool. Usually, the product expert or senior sales rep who is too busy working with deals is the person most needed for this type of project. Backing from senior management is essential, to allow for prioritization of the implementation of the CPQ over the day-to-day business tasks for all these organizations, including the busy experts.

Scope creep

Scope creep is an uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope after the project has begun. This is very common in CPQ projects as you learn about and define processes that quite often were never documented before. This is why it’s important to define project objectives early in the project, and refer to them as much as possible when deciding on changes to the project. It’s also important to have a defined change control process, with a steering group that has backing from senior management. There’s no easy solution to scope creep, but being aware of the problem is essential.

Aiming at 100% of sales done with CPQ

If you ask an engineer working for an elevator company how many floors the elevators can have the most, he might answer 100. However, maybe 95% of the sales have fewer than 10 floors, and all elevators above 20 floors require some engineer-to-order? So, does it really make sense to allow for 100 floors in the configurator?

We recommend aiming at 80-95% of the configurations done automatically by the CPQ software, and allowing for some manual work for the rest. The reason is that there is typically an 80-20 rule in regards to implementation, where the last 20% of the configuration complexity will take 80% of the implementation time of the tool. It is much better to focus on 80% of the sales initially in the project and to make sure there is a ready process for the other 20% of the sales.

If the project is a success, why not aim higher in the next phase of the project?

Bad data quality

A good sales configurator will use your product data existing in current systems. But how good is the quality of that data today? Do you have an organization in which all knowledge is stored in people’s heads and documentation is missing? As stated above, the output from the configurator will never be better than the input, which means you need to make an inventory of your product data and documentation. You might need to structure and systemize your product data before selecting or implementing sales configuration software. If you don’t, the implementation will probably take much longer than expected, and changes in the tool will be done multiple times back and forth before being able to release.

Too few or too many integrations

Implementing integrations take time, whatever the IT-guy will tell you. Even a standard integration may require some adaptation because the software you are already using and want to integrate to is customized. Adding integrations to all your surrounding tools will add up to a hefty budget, and with some delays added, your project might get stopped before it is released.
Hence it is important to prioritize integrations and to allow for manual integration in the early phases of the project.

Do your prices reside in ERP? Are they only changed every 6 months? Can you export them to Excel initially, to get the project going? If you can get a manual integration to work, try to push the implementation work to the future.

However, from a similar perspective pushing integrations to the future which require a large amount of manual work is also a bad idea. The manual work will cost money and may cause update errors. When selecting a vendor, make sure they have standard integrations to the essential systems you need to integrate to. Focus only on crucial integrations in the early phases to allow for a quick return on investment. Add the additional integrations in later phases, and do separate ROI calculations for the specific integrations.

The configurator cannot solve the configuration problem

The configuration is a complex subject. To put things into perspective; the number of atoms in the universe is estimated to be 10^80. A configurable product with 100 choices and 10 alternatives for each choice has 10^100 combinations. It is important to select a configurator that can solve complex configuration problems, an incorrect selection of sales configurator may lead to being forced to simplify the configuration problem too much and hence giving incorrect configurations or prices to the salesperson.
Too much focus on tangible products

A typical product does not only consist of hardware, but also other intangible products. It’s not uncommon for companies to have higher margins on services, spares, and extended warranties. These products should not be forgotten when implementing the configurator – because without these the configurator is not complete. And if the configurator is not complete, the deals will either be missing these high margin products, or the sales will simply not use the CPQ due to the missing products.

The CPQ isn’t easy to use

If the solution is difficult to use or just slow – it will fail because no one will use it. Your solution should simplify a complex process, not replace one complex process with another. There are often tradeoffs in functionality when simplicity is the primary goal. Make sure your CPQ is achieving a good balance between these two elements. Checking reviews before you select a CPQ vendor can help you learn more from real CPQ users.

The CPQ doesn’t focus on the key users

CPQ projects tend to be initiated by all other departments at companies except sales because sales are too busy working on quotes for customers. Hence the key tasks of the tool often misunderstood and not implemented properly. The most important task of a CPQ is to help the salesperson create a correct, competitive, and valid quote quickly – and what that means exactly is different for different companies. Makes sure key people from the sales department are involved in the selection and development process to ensure that their requirements are covered.

No focus on data maintenance

In most configurable products, the master data changes continuously. New options are added and old ones disappear, new suppliers emerge, prices change, etc. Often, these changes are made on a daily or weekly basis. Typically, these changes are managed in ERP or PLM systems by people not involved in the CPQ maintenance. It’s vital that master data maintenance requires a minimal amount of changes in the CPQ software. It is also equally important that an organization is set up to be responsible for the maintenance of the software because with even a minimal amount of maintenance it still needs to be tested and validated.

A partnership for manufacturing success

It’s easy to see why CPQ projects fail from time to time. The mammoth amount of work and data to get the project off the ground can at times seem daunting. This fear can be valid if you choose a CPQ vendor with lesser experience. With Tacton and CPQ.se you can put your trust in industry-leading experts who have handled complex implementations for more than 20 years with a visionary product. We’d love to help you transform your business, scheduling a demo can make your CPQ project run smoothly, and on time.

Schedule your personalized demo 

New to the Gartner Magic Quadrant? Here’s What You Need to Know.

What is the Gartner Magic Quadrant?

What is the Gartner Magic Quadrant? 

Whether you’re new to the IT sector or an old pro, there’s always something we can take away from the Gartner Magic Quadrant. But what is the Magic Quadrant? And why is important to manufacturers across the globe? 

The Magic Quadrant is a graph that has evaluation criteria that help buyers understand where certain companies are by defining them as challengers, leaders, niche and visionary solution providers. Each section has different pros and cons and selecting the leader may not fit into your specific buying needs but a different company on the graphic may.  

Example of the Quadrant

What do the four sections mean?  

  • Leadersexecute their current visions and goals and have good standing for the future 
  • Visionariesunderstand where the market is heading but lacks execution 
  • Nichefocus on a small segment of the market, or don’t out-innovate others 
  • Challengersexecute well, but may not understand market direction yet 

What other items can you learn from the Magic Quadrant? 

Gartner also provides relevant insight, company history and background that can help you determine which company would be best for you. It also highlights the good, while providing any places where the solution could gain strength by improving items.  

Has Tacton ever been featured on the Gartner Magic Quadrant?  

Tacton has been featured in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Application Suites in 20182019 and 2020 

[“This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Tacton.” Gartner, 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price, and Quote Application Suites. Mark Lewis, Dayna Ford, , 28 September 2020]

Learn where Tacton landed in 2020

Why is this important to manufacturers? 

With so many solutions out there it’s difficult to navigate which is optimal for manufacturers. Our CPQ solution enables manufacturers to visualize, build and sell products faster than ever. Enabling an omnichannel experience that is the envy of the industry.  

In closing:

Gartner helps industries including manufacturing analyze products and understand their visions, ability to execute and strategy. The Magic Quadrant makes it easier than ever to make decisions with the expert analysis provided by a third-party. 

Check out where Tacton has landed on the Gartner Magic Quadrant  for
Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites here! 

Tacton Named a “Visionary” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant 2020 for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites

Tacton Named a Visionary in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites

In today’s ever-shifting manufacturing industry, companies are in search of tools that enable them to build better, stronger, and optimized relationships with their customers. That’s why we couldn’t be happier to be named a “Visionary” for completeness of vision and ability to execute in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price, and Quote Application Suites.

We believe, appearing in the Magic Quadrant is a great accomplishment and recognizes the hard work and innovation the Tacton team has put in daily. In our opinion, Being recognized again highlights our important role in not only the CPQ space but also visual configuration for manufacturers.

Has Tacton ever been positioned on the Gartner Magic Quadrant?

Tacton has been positioned in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Application Suites in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

 

[“This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Tacton.” Gartner, 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price, and Quote Application Suites. Mark Lewis, Dayna Ford, , 28 September 2020]

Get your report

Why is this important for manufacturers?

2020 has taught us all that we need to be nimble, and adaptable to any situation. Manufacturing customers are not different. These customers demand fast, scalable buying experiences. With this demand, innovation is needed for the seller of highly-configurable manufacturing products. Manufacturers across the globe are searching for ways to transform their operations to engage with customers when and where they want. With Tacton’s omnichannel approach to reaching the manufacturing customer, it is easier than ever to enable self-service for your customers to buy from anywhere.

In addition to our solutions, we believe making the Magic Quadrant affirms the great relationships and learnings we’ve had with the top manufacturers in the world.  Manufacturing is changing rapidly, customers demand a B2B buying journey that mirrors their daily purchases. 

How does Gartner make the Quadrant?  

“The following criteria were evaluated to calculate each vendor’s Ability to Execute and Completeness of the vision. The evaluation was based on an extensive vendor survey, publicly available financial data, a standardized software demonstration, surveying of more than 200 customer references and Gartner inquiry calls.” 

Download the Magic Quadrant

What’s next?

In three easy steps you can be the envy of manufacturers in your industry:

  1. Get your complimentary guide to learn more about why Tacton has been named a visionary. Download here!
  2. Schedule your demo
  3. Begin your journey with Tacton Smart Commerce

Gartner Disclaimer:  

Gartner, Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price, and Quote Application Suites, Mark Lewis, Dayna Ford, 28 September 2020]

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

eCommerce for Manufacturers: An Untapped Opportunity

what is ecommerce for manufacturers?

What is eCommerce for manufacturers?

Manufacturing is quickly changing, from typical in-person meetings with sales reps and engineers to an omnichannel online experience for customers. With so much change, highlighted by the ongoing pandemic shift to remote selling, manufacturers are looking for answers to questions they should have been asking years ago. How to provide an online, B2C buying experience as retail stores and Amazon do. eCommerce for manufacturers is an untapped chance to work with new solutions that enable a truly customer-centric operation.

B2B vs. B2C for manufacturers, what’s the difference?

B2B

Manufacturers who rely on in-person meetings, calls, and emails will quickly lose business to the competition who enable items such as self-service for their customers, where they can configure, price, quote, (CPQ), and get product info at any time. These customers want to have every piece of information they can, product details, discounting info, and much more. Manufacturers have long created a B2B experience for their customers, focusing on product logic and its features. While this has worked in the past with the analytical buyer focusing on the core competencies of the productThis leads to a long, slow buying journey that would take time to complete a purchase.

B2C

The rise of companies like Amazon has made customers less likely to wait for satisfaction, they want to know the benefits of your products in seconds, not days or weeksB2B customers are behaving like B2C customers meaning they want products fast, accurate, visually, and across channels. They refuse to wait for your long sales pitch. Even after the purchase, to keep customers coming back manufacturers must give an excellent omnichannel eCommerce experience. With 74% of customers researching half of their purchases online (Accenture) it’s critical to be able to showcase products directly to them without direct contact. 

ecommerce for manufacturing tip

CPQ is a new way to execute on your eCommerce journey. Embedding a product configurator with visualization right on your website will show how simple and easy it is to get their manufacturing product, no matter the complexity. This is a chance to win on two fronts in the battle for customer engagement. First, customers can configure their product down to the smallest detail without the help of your sales team then request a quote or add to the shopping cart using self-service integrations to buy from anywhere. Enabling your customer to do more online and without help will save time and money and allow your teams to chase other leads who are more likely to want in-person contact. This information from your self-service can be quickly sent over to your CRM systems (Salesforce, Dynamics, SAP, and more) quickly to build out your customer segments. 

Using a CPQ system integrated into an eCommerce platform puts the power of product configuration in the hands of customers, it’s only the beginning of a seamlessly connected experience. 

According to Accenture, 20% of all industrial purchases will be online by 2025

2025 seems a while away, but it’ll be here before you know it, making it essential to plan the future of manufacturing sales around being able to sell online. Is your company ready to become a fully digital operation and give customers the chance to research, understand, and eventually buy products online? If not your competition will.

Discover how Smart Commerce powered by CPQ can take your business fully online and sell to both the B2B and B2C buyers on the market in our eBook: The Manufacturers’ Guide to Smart Commcerce.

 

A Letter From Our New CEO: Why Tacton? Why Now?

My name is Bo Gyldenvang, and I’m Tacton’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share a little bit about why I joined Tacton at such an uncertain economic time. 

An Unparalleled Opportunity  

The manufacturing industry is quickly changing from in-person sales and engineering to a fully digital buying and selling experience. Tacton offered an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. A chance to be at the forefront of transforming not just one manufacturer, but the entire industry. As a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic QuadrantTacton has unique product insights and unparalleled manufacturing expertise that will not only help manufacturers but their customers in the long run.  

Why Tacton? 

We’re at an inflection point as a global society. A lot has changed over the past six months. The pandemic has shown how we all need to find better, optimized, and more sustainable ways to work. Which is why I’m ecstatic to start at Tacton. A company whose mission is to enable Smart Commerce for Manufacturers with Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software. 

The Culture 

Award-winning products are great, but the team behind the product is a major reason I’ve joined Tacton. As a global company, it’s impressive to see how the teams interact with one another, waking up early, staying a few minutes late to enhance collaboration and expertise. The international culture brings together a melting pot of ideas that have led us to be such an exciting place to work. 

I’m looking forward to supporting our customers and manufacturers in their digital transformation journey with Tacton and I hope you are too. If you’d like feel free to connect with me on Linkedin and Twitter

Best,

Bo Gyldenvang

 

 

[Tech with Tacton] Dynamic Proposal Documents with CPQ Proposal Software

Power city at night

Creating complete and accurate proposal document with the customer in focus when you have a large or heavily configurable product portfolio can be a time-consuming process and manufacturers know this struggle far too well. Proposals are one critical part of closing deals with customers, so creating fast, accurate proposals can make all the difference between winning or losing a deal. That’s just one reason many manufacturers are venturing to use Configure, Price, Quote solutions. Using CPQ proposal software can help you generate that winning proposal with a click of a button.  

This week’s Tech with Tacton author is Kalle Bruno one of our Senior Business Consultants at Tacton. In Kalle’s eight years with Tacton he has worked with some of our customers such as Husky, Siemens and Ryder. 

Manual work without CPQ proposal software  

Just as fast as your customer contacts you with a request, they want an equally fast response with a proposal that answers their specific questions.  

Many manufacturers in the past have taken a lot of time to build proposals painstakingly, manually writing a word document, copying and pasting standard sections from old proposals to retrofit an old customer proposal for a new one. Omitting those yellow sections like they’ve done so many times in the past. This can lead to error-prone handovers with missing documents, inaccurate pricing, and product specs.   

In that scramble to create a proposal the old way, your sales team uses old company logos and creates documents that seem pasted together from old documents, creating an inconsistent proposal experience for your customer. This isn’t just a difficult read for your customer but a bad look for your brand.  

All this work keeps customers waiting. So why do many manufacturers go back copy and paste from old word documents into a new one every time? They haven’t discovered how to use CPQ proposal software to make their lives easier yet. 

Want to go deeper into CPQ Proposal Documents? Check out our guide to CPQ!

Configure your perfect proposal 

Customers are unique and expect their needs to be acknowledged and fulfilled, this I should be reflected in a proposalChoose if you want to include a note from you CEO and product specs, just check that box.  The note mentions the customer’s name and contact person, the correct specs are added which relate to the products that will fulfill the customers’ needs. Only show total price, or is it important to present a price for reach individual options, your choice. It’s even easy to add the product visualizations you impressed the customer within the initial sales pitch.

The best part? If you reconfigure products and adjust prices in CPQ, you just need to press that button again to generate a proposal reflecting those changes.  

The documents included with Tacton CPQ Proposal Software:

Generates proposals and supporting documents –product sheets, user manuals, BOMs, spare parts lists
˃ Documents in Word, Excel or PDF
˃ Country- and role-specific proposals

Dynamic Proposals can help empower sales and customers

Creating an easy and editable way of creating proposals used to be a tall task. Now with CPQ Proposal Software by Tacton it’s easier than ever to populate documents with accurate product info, removing any chance of errors. This error-proof proposal generation can help sell faster while making each customers unique proposal dynamic, easy to read and accurate.

To learn more about dynamic proposals and Tacton CPQ:

Schedule your demo

Learn more about Tacton

CPQ and Guided Selling: Empowering Manufacturing Customers

A shift towards customer empowerment is here

A dynamic power shift has been happening for businesses across every industry over the past decade. Manufacturers used to rely on ads, word-of-mouth and even promotions to attract customers to their products. This oftentimes was a leap of faith for customers, with little to no peer-reviews or information buyers would have to trust that a manufacturer could do as they promised.

That’s all changed, with review sites and numerous other ways to get info on your company. These changing customer demands make it imperative to change how manufacturers interact and empower their current and prospective customers. This power shift demands that manufacturers enable customers to configure, price and quote highly configurable manufacturing products on their own time without the help from your sales or engineering teams.

What does customer empowerment for manufacturers look like?

The old customer journey took your buyer directly to your sales and engineering teams because configuring products with high product variability was difficult. That process could some times lead to costly misconfigurations and error-filled quotes, making your customer think twice about your product. Manufacturers who use CPQ offer accurate quotes and configurations, but customers are still looking to do the work on their own time. That’s why today’s customers want to be less reliant on your sales team and more create their product on their own time with the same accuracy but still have the same great support from your team if problems do arise. This support and empowerment is a powerful way to foster a great relationship based on loyalty and accurate expectations.

Get your free CPQ guide today!

CPQ and Guided Selling empowering the customer and the manufacturer to do more

Customers want to do everything fast, and accurate. Errors aren’t acceptable to the new B2B buyer because if they do happen customers are likely to find an option that can fulfill their needs. Without CPQ many manufacturers struggle with product variance because they use excel sheets and other databases with scattered information. This of course leads to errors and unhappy customers which makes creating a cohesive internal experience even more important. Connecting with existing CRM, ERP and other business-critical systems to CPQ with robust integrations help your company get to grips with the quoting process for internal empowerment.

Now that internal empowerment is accomplished with CPQ your customer will be able to enjoy the same benefits. Customers want to save as much time as possible when searching for products, that’s why CPQ self-service is a key tool you can use to create configurations and even visualizations of their products, all without any assistance from your sales team. Customers want an eCommerce way of buying things similar to how they shop for a new pair of shoes. Enabling self-service helps your customers work with products while enabling your company to create the eCommerce journey they are accustom to. This journey can be accompanied by stunning visuals that are accurate down to the smallest detail. Check out how we helped MAN Truck and Bus give visuals that helped them save time while enhancing the customer experience.

This sounds like a bad thing for your sales team, but in reality, empowering customers to create themselves will save your team time and money by focusing on other potential deals. Self-service can also help with frequently asked questions by providing a knowledge base of questions, and troubleshooting.

What is Guided Selling?

Guided Selling software creates an interactive dialogue about customer wants and needs to find a solution that is both accurate and optimal for their needs. Think of your best salesperson, they have the experience to suggest what would work in a certain situation but still can create mistakes. Guided Selling is like your best salesperson but without the errors. Utilizing Guided Selling creates a personalized experience by showing customers optimal products that they didn’t know they needed. This empowers them to take a deep dive into the products, how do they use them, where do they use them? These questions give customers options that they didn’t even think of that can help them get the most out of their products. Technical knowledge isn’t needed with Guided Selling, making it easy for anyone to use, sales, or customers.

Empowering Customers can take your business to the next level

It’s not a secret anymore, manufacturers are trying to catch up to other industries by creating a cohesive, fast and empowering customer journey. Many have struggled to get the process started because the optimal solution hasn’t presented itself. That time is over, Tacton Smart Commerce, powered by CPQ can shape how your business does work internally and externally. Empowering customers with self-service and Guided Selling is just the beginning. Once they get a hang of that it’s possible for them to enable their partners do work with their customers for a truly omnichannel customer experience.

Sound too good to be true? Check out some of our resources and customer stories to see how top manufacturers are empowering their customers daily.

Book your personalized demo

Tacton Smart Commerce eBook 

CPQ Self-Service Product Sheet

Visual Configuration Video

Husky Success Story

 

CPQ Systems Analytics: Expectation vs. Reality

CPQ systems analytics

Data is important and a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQinvestment has a wealth of data that many of our manufacturing customers are taking advantage of to learn more about their products. Organizations that aren’t thinking about how to maximize their data to address their problems today are losing time and money on problems they want to solve tomorrow. Enabling manufacturers to use CPQ systems analytics to create both an input and an output can create insights that help with current and future forecasts. Your customers can also benefit from using analytics as they can see how their expectations of a product could be perfect, or use some improvement based on actual data.  

The expectation and the input  

Every customer is different, each has their idea of how a specific product will work for them. Creating their highly customizable manufacturing product together using CPQ is a great way to speed up a slow process, but let’s focus on the CPQ systems analytics.  

Say your customer is looking to purchase a truck (check out how one of our customers does it), they have preconceived notions on the total cost of ownership, where and when it’ll be serviced and how their drivers will treat any truck in their fleet. Your customer equips the trucks with tires pressure sensors, engine diagnostics, elevation measures, GPS, and even gearbox output. Measuring how these items work in the truck can tell a lot about how drivers are using it, and what can be improved if customers dig deeper than just buying the product.  

The reality and the action 

Now that the truck has rolled off the assembly line and onto the roads the customer drives on the data can begin to be collected. Remember those pressure sensors in the tires? Maybe they haven’t been working so well for the customer. The gearbox may be getting a little bit more beat up than expected and the engine may be suffering because of it. Using GPS and elevation data you can see if the truck was required to take a longer route through rougher terrain.

Capturing this data with CPQ system analytics is critical to adjusting for servicing and upgrades for the next truck. Correct servicing and upgrades can make customers loyal because they know you’re helping them optimize their product.  Maximizing this datcan help your company create better insight on products to help market future versions to your loyal customers.  

The output  

Now that you’ve put a higher value on customer data it’s time to figure out how to use this analysis to understand how expectation vs reality can create business value. Seeing what was in the initial order by the customers vs. How the product was used has a lot of insights that CPQ analytics can shed light on 

Using information such as driving habits can help you sell driver training to help better optimize the use of their purchase. Or those tire pressure sensors that weren’t working so well can be removed from the product portfolio and swapped out for ones that better fit the needs of the driver.  

It’s time to take a deep dive into data 

If you don’t have a CPQ system in place you may find yourself struggling with the data that comes from creating highly customizable manufacturing products. A spreadsheet about product options here and another spreadsheet about pricing. This decentralized data leads to losing time, money and customer interest by creating a slow sales process. All of that can change using CPQ system analytics. Reviewing how expectations can vary greatly from reality is an integral part of keeping customers coming back. Being agile, especially in the upcoming months,  with analytics data can help save time and money.  

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What is CPQ Software? How can it Help in the New Normal?

What is CPQ Software?

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software platforms help manufacturers use self-service, guided (and remoteselling to accurately configure manufacturing products and services for the new buying journey many manufacturers face. The new B2B buyer won’t wait for error-prone quotes they want their products custom and they want them now! Minimizing time-consuming back and forth between your sales and engineering is reduced by centralizing the customer experience within CPQ. 

Much of the world has hit the pause button on how everyday activity creating a sense of nostalgia for how we used to work, and anxiety for the new way things will be done. Manufacturers have felt this anxiety as severely as other industries that have paused operations. These feelings are of course valid. But what if it was possible to turn that fear and anxiety into business self-reflection to find new solutions that can help you, and your business adapt to a new normal?

How can CPQ software prepare us for a new way of working?

Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat. Manufacturers have been thrown into brand new ways of working from the back of the office to the front. Six-feet separate employees who used to work inches from one another. To sales teams scrambling to find ways to work, and demo highly configurable products remotely. These challenges have shifted how and when we work, making it important to find new ways to adapt to the current situation while also embracing the future with new ways to work.

CPQ is the innovation manufacturers didn’t realize they needed until now. Inefficient operations and slow internal processes have always hampered how your engineers and sales teams work. Giving them a new agile way of working is a benefit that will enable your company to grow at an exponential rate.

That sounds great but how is it possible?

Your sales team and your customer 

Using CPQ helps your sales team from anywhere with less hassle. From guided selling to visual configuration your sales team can create fast, accurate and visually appealing sales pitches that your customer, who is pickier than ever will love. All of this can be done online or in-person for an omnichannel manufacturing experience. We’re very familiar with the changing customer demands, they want custom products from size dimensions to colors, fast and if they don’t get them they’ll go to your competition. With CPQ self-service it’s even possible to create a place for your customers to configure, price and quote their own products on their own time, something manufacturers in the past have failed to do.

Your engineering team 

Increasing the dialogue and collaboration between your sales and engineering teams is something you’ve been thinking about for a while. The slow back and forth with error-prove handover has cost time, money and customer satisfaction in the past. Finding a way to turn collaboration into a strength is something CPQ software can radically change. By using CPQ which guarantees 100% accurate quotes + visual configuration which can show the smallest detail to prospects offers a synchronized and transparent way to have teams work together. This doesn’t just benefit your internal operations but keeps customers on a fast track to receiving their products.

Integrations for even greater speed

From CPQ for Salesforce, to CPQ for Microsoft Dynamics and even your favorite eCommerce solution, it’s easier than ever to highlight the strength of any business-critical system. Without these integrations it’s lead manufacturers to use messy spreadsheets and have information get lost, for incorrect quoting.

Every operation is different, but creating new ways to be agile in the coming months can make all of the difference in barley surviving or thriving in a new normal that mandates different ways of working. Using Smart Commerce powered by CPQ can be a choice that puts manufacturers ahead in the race for increased customer satisfaction, improved internal operations and higher profit margins.

These are just a few highlights of how Tacton CPQ Software can help manufacturers adapt to a new normal. Let’s get in touch and create a new manufacturing normal that will be the envy of the industry. 

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